Unless the crime is extremely serious, you are likely to be released on your own without bail, or you will need to post bail. Either way, you will usually not be charged until your arraignment. However, sometimes you will be arraigned after your arrest and you will be charged at the same time your bail is set. In either case, you should hire an attorney before you stand before a judge. The following are just a few reasons for this.
They may be able to have the charges dismissed
Criminal attorneys have a detailed knowledge of what constitutes the specific charges against you. Once they understand the circumstances surrounding your arrest, it may be clear that the district attorney will not be able to successfully prosecute you. Sometimes there is not enough evidence to prosecute you, so you shouldn't have been charged in the first place. Or, sometimes the district attorney overcharged you, and their chances of getting a guilty verdict are slim. The first thing a criminal attorney will do is look at the charges against you, and the evidence that the district attorney has to prosecute you.
They may be able to negotiate for lower charges
This can be important in many ways. If an attorney negotiates for a lower charge, it may mean a lower bail, and a lower bail may be one that you can afford. This means you won't be sitting in jail until your trial. Or a lower charge could mean going from a felony to a misdemeanor. And if you have no felony convictions on your record, this can mean avoiding a host of issues in your life that can result in having a felony record. Lower charges against you can also mean having one or more charges dropped when there are several charges against you.
They may be able to negotiate a plea deal
Plea bargaining happens every day in our nation's court system. Going to court is risky for a defendant for obvious reasons, but it is risky for the district attorney as well. They don't want to spend an excessive amount of money on trials, and if they lose too many cases, they can find themselves out of a job. In many situations, a plea bargain can mean no jail time. It can also mean just paying a fine, or if the charge is serious enough, you might find yourself on probation, but you avoid a jail sentence.
The best time to hire an attorney is before charges are brought against you. During this time, an attorney may be able to dismiss charges against you, or reduce the charges to a misdemeanor or at least reduce the charges for a lower bail amount. And often, an attorney can plea bargain with the district attorney, so you never spend any time in jail.
For more information, reach out to a local criminal defense lawyer.